Last 40 Free Journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Last 40 Free, Jul 20, 2023.

  1. Last 40 Free

    Last 40 Free New Member

    I made my first post yesterday and I was encouraged to journal as part of healing. So here goes.

    Today’s Topic: Times I Tried to Get Help

    First, my kindly old family doctor. I ended up as his patient by a series of changes at the clinic I went to. I didn’t like him. However I was so desperate I consulted him about watching porn. He didn’t wait to find out anything at all about what I was watching. Even so when I said I was concerned about confidentiality, he said, “Well if I have concerns I will have to call the police.”

    I mean I watch the mildest of p! But even still I was shocked. I told him to forget it and he seemed happy to comply. He told me to talk to God about it. Nothing came of it except that I avoided talking to anyone about it for years after. Still mad at that guy.

    Second, a trusted family member, an older man. We were talking on the porch and it came up. “I’m having a real problem with porn.” He froze up. “Uh huh?”

    “I’d like to call you if I have trouble abstaining.”

    He agreed but quickly changed the subject.

    I called him once. “I’m feeling tempted.” He quickly changed the subject. I told him everything was fine and hung up. I’ve never brought it up since.

    Reflection: The doctor was an old effer. He had no context to offer the help I wanted, and no experience with porn addiction. However I’m angry that he didn’t find help for me. His talking about the cops, having not even heard what I was watching (and again … it was mild stuff!) was some proper bullshit and kept me from seeking help for years.

    As for my relative, I think I was asking too much from him. I was looking for an accountability partner and though he said yes it’s clear he wasn’t prepared for that role. I wish he could have done more but I don’t blame him.

    Has anyone else had bad experiences reaching out for help?
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2023
    Montesquieu likes this.
  2. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Hey Last 40. Thanks for sharing and good question. Personally I have always been very private about my porn addiction. My first wife was "reluctantly aware" as she caught me a few times and was understandably upset - given the poor state of our sex life at the time. My current wife was originally fine with me watching porn - as she is away a lot on business and recognizes "guys have needs." But eventually she realized it was affecting my sexual performance with her, and she gently asked me to work harder on stopping for both our sakes. And she has been wonderfully supportive of my hard work to get better. But I have found it does not make her feel good to look for ongoing support from her after relapses or when tempted. She clearly prefers to just know I am working hard on my addiction and have it somewhat in the background.

    Given all the reading I have done - it seems like the best approach for sharing is with another addict or with a therapist specializing in addiction. Same as for alcohol and other addictions.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2023
    Montesquieu and StarWarsFan like this.
  3. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    Thanks for your post, @Last 40 Free. You raise a really good and difficult question. I’ve also struggled to know whether I should bring this up with some friends for support. I’ve also of course wondered whether to tell me wife (that’s complicated with lots of nuance to work through: it would certainly strengthen my resolve but at the risk of perhaps needlessly hurting her in a pretty significant way and perhaps worsening our good relationship). I’ve opted against telling her for now. My goal is to quit on my own with support on this forum and (if needed) an addiction therapist. Then maybe I will bring it up to my wife when I’ve got a year or two of sobriety. There are a couple of friends I’ve thought about telling but haven’t had the courage, I guess. But I do think about it from time to time and maybe I will at some point.

    Hang in there and keep up the good work!
    path-forward likes this.
  4. Last 40 Free

    Last 40 Free New Member

    Journal 2: 8 Days!

    It may not sound like a lot, but it is. Mostly, I have been enjoying life and keeping busy. However, there have been some real challenges this week. I am happy that I've been able to sidestep the temptations, but I know it's not a matter of willpower. Against the reptile parts of the brain, willpower is generally a weak warrior. It's good as a reminder when I'm feeling tempted, but it needs lots of help from good habits, distraction and support.

    But I do want to celebrate that accomplishment.

    I found another p-adjacent activity that my brain was toying with to get its fix: violent horror movie and horror manga. I do enjoy both of them, but I've found over the last few days that I've been really drawn to them. I became aware that my brain is getting a little kick similar to porn from them, and I'm not surprised at all by that. Though they are not erotic, the shocks from horror give me a very similar feeling of "feeding the beast" of the addiction. It reminds me of a relative who, after he finally quit drinking, began eating massive quantities of sweets. His brain seemed to be fumbling around in the dark trying to find a replacement for the lost stimuli. For him, his brain was groping around for sugar rush. For me, it's looking for the "porn experience."

    I'm not doing myself any favours by watching horror or reading the manga. First, it's not really giving my brain a chance to rewire if I'm allowing it to have a very similar experience to watching porn. Second, I'm spending too much time doing it, which is a sign that it's not entirely healthy. Third, it does contain porn adjacent material ... nudity and sexuality ... so it's a real landmine.

    I don't have any trouble with horror as a genre. I also think horror manga as exceptionally well done and I enjoy the experience. In fact, I know that porn itself (if it's ethical and positive) is not really the problem. It's the way my brain responds to it that's the problem.

    Life is good. I'm moving forward with positive feelings. Sex with my wife is much more enjoyable even after 8 short days.

    And the time! Guys, having all that time back is a gift.
    path-forward likes this.
  5. Last 40 Free

    Last 40 Free New Member

    Journal 3: The Marshmallow Storm

    So, my son and I were talking about the brain psychology of addiction in general terms, and he told me about an experiment. The subjects were children. Scientists put a marshmallow in front of them and told them that, if they could resist eating the marshmallow a specific amount of time, they would get TWO marshmallows.

    Lots of versions of this one Youtube: .

    So, the kids who tended to EAT the marshmallow, focused on it intently. They touched it, played with it, smelled it, even tasted it. The kids who tended to WAIT used strategies like ignoring the marshmallow, finding something else to preoccupy them, hiding the marshmallow, etc.

    So today, the temptation to look at p is very strong. It's relentless. It feels like a storm of desire and need.

    Only ... I think it's a storm of marshmallows. It doesn't really have any power, except that which my mind gives it. If I don't look at p, I'm not going to die. The storm is an illusion, a tempest of my own brain.

    I was just watching a dog that LOVED fruit. When I took out an apple, his attention was RIVETTED to me. He could not take his eyes off that apple. However, when it was gone, he lost all interest in the apple and went about his business. I wonder if my brain will work like the dog's? If there is no possibility that I am going to watch p, will it lose interest and go about its business?

    Maybe what makes this hard is keeping the "apple" out all the time. Looking at it every few seconds. Saying to myself: I must not eat it, I must not eat it.

    I'm going to try to tell my brain, and to act, as if the "apple" is gone. There's no possibility you're getting the apple, Fido. Go to bed!
    Montesquieu likes this.
  6. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    I really appreciated this post. I’m also trying to act as if the apple is gone. It’s amazing how something so seemingly important can become completely trivial with time. It’s not that important after all. I think we are all learning (and relearning) that lesson.

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